Monday, April 23, 2018

Audiobook Review - What You Do to Me by Barbara Longley @barbaralongley

What You Do to Me by Barbara Longley
Narrated by Teri Clark Linden
Series: The Haneys #1
Publisher: Brillance Audio
Publication Date: November 1, 2016
Date Read: April 13, 2018
Length: 9 hours 2 minutes
Source: Borrowed from Amazon Prime
Whether it's repairing a home or taking care of clients' other needs, Twin Cities handyman Sam Haney is in demand from his mostly female clientele. Despite Sam's lothario reputation, love isn't part of his portfolio. He's built a lot of walls in his time, but the one that's surrounded his heart ever since the death of his parents is his most solid yet.

Haley Cooper has had enough heartache for a lifetime. Her high school sweetheart up and moved to Indonesia - alone - just two weeks before their wedding. Her mother thinks it's time for Haley to move on and contracts Sam to work on Haley's wreck of a house - and anything else, if he's got the notion.

Sparks fly and passion ignites. But Haley isn't into Sam's love-'em-and-leave-'em act. She wants something more. Fixing a house is one thing, but for this handyman, building a relationship will need a whole different set of skills.
My Review

I liked this book and had a lot of fun with it.  I really didn't know a whole lot about the book but when I saw that it was offered through Prime Reading at Amazon, I decided to give it a try.  It was a really quick listen for me and I was able to get through the whole book in just a couple of days.  It wasn't perfect but it had some really great moments that made the overall experience quite enjoyable.

One thing that I had to get past with this book was the initial set up.  Sam becomes well known as the handyman offering a few more personal services.  I was quite amused by how things started until Haley's mother got involved.  Haley's mother sends Sam to work on Haley's house and requests his personal touch.  What mother does that?  Every mother I know would do everything in their power to prevent such a thing from happening.  It just felt odd to me but I went with it and just had fun watch Sam and Haley.

I really liked Sam and Haley together.  They both had some pretty big issues to work through and I thought that they were really good for each other.  I love how Haley confides in Sam and takes his advice.  Sam really had a hard time opening up to other but he was very drawn to Haley.  I wish that Sam could have worked through some of his issues a little quicker and saved both of them some heartache but everything worked out in the end. 

I think that this is the second time that I have listened to Teri Clark Linden and I thought she did a good job with the book.  Her voice was very pleasant to listen to for hours at a time and she was able to bring a lot of emotion to the story.  I thought that the character voices that she used were all very well done.  I wouldn't hesitate to listen to more of her work in the future.

I would recommend this book to others.  It was a fun romance that had the happily ever after that I wanted to see.  This was the first book by Barbara Longley that I have had the chance to read but I look forward to more in the future.

About the Author

Award-winning author Barbara Longley moved frequently throughout her childhood, but she quickly learned to entertain herself with stories. As an adult, she's lived in a commune in the Appalachians, taught on a Native American reservation, and traveled extensively from coast to coast. After her children were born, she decided to make the state of Minnesota her permanent home. Barbara holds a master's degree in special education and taught for many years. Today she devotes herself to writing contemporary, mythical, and paranormal stories. Her titles include Heart of the Druid Laird, the Love from the Heartland series (Far from Perfect, The Difference a Day Makes, A Change of Heart, and The Twisted Road to You), and the Novels of Loch Moigh (True to the Highlander, The Highlander's Bargain, The Highlander's Folly, and The Highlander's Vow).

Author Link:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #116

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

My Life
I feel like my teenage daughter had a busy week and it somehow trickled down to me.  She is actually on her spring band trip to Atlanta right now and will be back on Sunday.  So we spent a lot of the week making sure that everything was in order before she left on Wednesday night.  My husband and I do get a few days with just the two of us in the house but it worked out that my husband is working 12 hour shifts during those days so we didn't really get to go out and have any fun. Today we are going to try to fit in two different family gatherings so please be patient with me as I work to respond to comments.

Books Added This Week

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (NetGalley)
Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong (NetGalley)
I Think I Love You by Lauren Layne (NetGalley)
Blood Type by K.A. Linde (NetGalley)
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (Bookish First)
Staked, Revamped, and Crossed by J.F. Lewis (Kindle Purchase)

I have worked really hard to stay away from NetGalley and focus on catching up some of my old review copies.  And then this week happened.  Adding four NetGalley books in a single week is not a part of my overall plan.  Oh well.  I couldn't resist Foundryside when I got the email from the publisher about it.  I requested Aftermath a few weeks ago because it is written by Kelley Armstrong.  Lauren Layne is an author that I really like so I didn't put much thought into grabbing I Think I Love You.  I have been considering Blood Type since I first saw it on NetGalley and finally grabbed it this week.  I was pretty excited when my copy of The Kiss Quotient showed up from Bookish First this week.  I really don't know a whole lot about Staked, Revamped, and Crossed but all three were on sale of $0.99 each and they sounds like something I would like so I decided to grab those as well.

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Audiobook Review - Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak

Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak
Narrated by Therese Plummer
Series: Evelyn Talbot #1
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: September 29, 2016
Date Read: April 11, 2018
Length: 13 hours 5 minutes
Source: Audible Purchase
Her Darkest Nightmare, first in an electrifying new series from New York Times best-selling author Brenda Novak.

The hunt for a serial killer...

Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only 16 when her own boyfriend, Jasper, imprisoned and tortured her - and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community, even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart.

Begins with an escape from her past.

Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her - the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same.
My Review

I thought that this was pretty good.  It wasn't great but it was good.  I have been excited about this book since I read the prequel novella Hanover House a couple of years ago.  This is the first full length book in the Evelyn Talbot series but I do recommend reading the prequel novella first if at all possible since it really sets up the series well.  I had a pretty good time with this book and was eager to learn how everything would work out in the end.

Evelyn Talbot has a lot of experience with psychopaths.  As a teenager, her boyfriend killed her friends and almost killed her as well after torturing her for several days.  As an adult, she has dedicated her life to learning more about psychopaths.  She was the driving force behind opening Hanover House, a facility that houses and studies these individuals.

Sergeant Amarok is the local law enforcement.  He is an Alaskan State Trooper and the only real authority in the town.  He has to deal with dangerous weather condition and whatever other issues come up in the area.  When it appears that a murder has occurred, he is the one tasked with figuring everything out.

This book had a lot of really great elements.  It was an exciting story.  There was more than a few scenes that really had me worried that things might go poorly for the characters.  The mystery was rather complex and kept me guessing until the very end of the book.  I liked the romance between Evelyn and Amarok.  They really seemed perfect together and I loved how their personalities complimented each other.

There were a few things about the story that seemed a bit off.  I did like the romance between Evelyn and Amarok but I didn't care for the way that it seemed to take over the rest of the story at times.  The book spends a lot of time in Evelyn's head and she spent so much time thinking about Amarok.  I kind of thought she should have been thinking about the murderer running around the town but that is just me.  I also thought is was unrealistic that Amarok would have been left to deal with everything on his own.  I would think that a murderer on the loose would have been enough to get a few reinforcements sent to his little town.

Therese Plummer did a great job with this book.  I found the book to be a pretty quick listen that I really enjoyed.  Overall, I think that the narrator did a nice job with the character voices although I did find a couple of the voices to be rather similar at first.   I thought she did a great job with adding excitement to the book at just the right moments.  I would definitely listen to this talented narrator again in the future.

I do recommend this book to others.  This wasn't a perfect book but I had a lot of fun with it. I am really looking forward to finding out what else might threaten Evelyn and Hanover House very soon.

About the Author

BRENDA NOVAK and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children-three girls and two boys. When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research. Brenda's novels have made The New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and won many awards, including three Rita nominations, the Book Buyer's Best, the Book Seller's Best and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Author Link:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Books from the Backlog #4

Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks.

If you would like to join in, please feel free to enter your link and link back to this post, then spend some time visiting some of the other posts.  

This week's neglected book

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Release Date: June 26, 1997
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.
Why did I add Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone to my bookshelf?

Can you believe that I haven't read this one?  Poor Harry Potter has spent a lot of years in my to be read pile.  I don't know why I haven't read it.  Both of my daughters have read the series and loved it.  My oldest daughter is 23 now and I know that I have had my print copy since her elementary school days so probably close to 15 years now.  As soon as this series was offered for sale as an ebook, I ran to Pottermore and bought the whole collection.  I have had digital copies of these books for over 6 years.  I don't know why I haven't picked them up yet.  Everyone seems to love these books to death and maybe I am a little worried that I won't like them quite a much.  Hopefully, I will actually read these books at some point.

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book?  Would you recommend it to others?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Review - All for You by Jessica Scott @JessicaScott09 @ForeverRomance

All for You by Jessica Scott
Series: Coming Home #4
Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
Publication Date: February 4, 2014
Date Read: April 
Length: 324 pages
Source: NetGalley
Can a battle-scarred warrior . . .

Stay sober. Get deployed. Lead his platoon. Those are the only things that matter to Sergeant First Class Reza Iaconelli. What he wants is for everyone to stay out of his way; what he gets is Captain Emily Lindberg telling him how to deal with his men. Fort Hood's newest shrink is smart as a whip and sexy as hell. She's also full of questions-about the army, its soldiers, and the agony etched on Reza's body and soul.

. . . open his heart to love?

Emily has devoted her life to giving soldiers the care they need-and deserve. Little does she know that means facing down the fierce wall of muscle that is Sergeant Iaconelli like it's just another day at the office. When Reza agrees to help her understand what makes a soldier tick, she's thrilled. Too bad it doesn't help her unravel the sexy warrior in front of her who stokes her desire and touches a part of her she thought long dead. He's the man who thinks combat is the only escape from the demons that haunt him. The man who needs her most of all . . .

My Review

This really was a fantastic read.  I have had this book for years but for some reason never picked it up until now.  Let me tell you that this was a big mistake.  Huge mistake.  This book was really good and made me think.  It made me feel which is always a good thing.  I think that I had expected this book to be a more typical military romance before reading it but I was completely wrong.  I am really glad that I took the time to read this powerful story.

This book deals with military suicide and PTSD which are some pretty tough topics.  Most of the soldiers in this story are affected by their time in combat in one way or another.  Reza is a Sergeant First Class and tries to watch out for his men while dealing with his own issues.  He often has to spend a lot of valuable time trying to find out what is going on with his me.  Time that could be spent in training before their next deployment. 

Emily, a Psychiatrist, is new to the Army and really wants to help the soldiers that come to her for help.  Her family is not in favor of her decision to enlist in the army but she is determined to make a difference.  She quickly learns that there are a lot of things that she does not understand in regards to what the soldiers have been through so she works to learn what she can. 

I really liked Reza and Emily together.  They had such great chemistry even though they were not at all alike.  They both seemed to be able to support each other in exactly the way that was most needed.  I really appreciated the fact that the romance didn't overpower the other issues that the book was dealing with.  If anything, I would say that the romance aspect of the book was secondary to turmoil with Reza and his soldiers. 

I really liked how this book was able to show such tough topics in a way that felt realistic.  Reza's battle with alcohol was painful to watch.  There were some pretty graphic scenes that really got to me.  I understood how Reza and Emily were taking thing hard because I was right there with them.  I also really appreciated the fact that the book ended on a very hopeful note because I really wanted to see both of these characters get their happy ending.

I would recommend this book to others.  I thought it was a really well done story that was quite eye opening.  This book is the forth book in the Coming Home series but I read it as a stand alone without any trouble.  I would definitely read more from this talented author in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley.
About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer; mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs; wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she's a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon. She's currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.

She's written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View: Regarding War Blog, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn and has served as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas.

Author Link:  Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

New Releases - April 17, 2018 #newreleases #newbooks

It's Tuesday!  That means it is time to make a little bit of room on the bookshelves, load up your ereader, or make your way to your local library.  In other words - It is time to get your hands on a new book!

Here are just a few books that have just been released that you may want to grab soon:

Chaser by Kylie Scott
Given his well-earned bad boy reputation, Eric is having a tough time scoring.. When single Jean moves to town, she seems heaven sent by the sex gods. Only problem is, she not only wants nothing to do with him, but it turns out that she's pregnant.

Starting over in a small town, Jean is determined to turn her wild lifestyle around and be the kind of mother she always wished she'd had. Since local bar owner and all round hottie, Eric Collins, is now determined to steer clear of her pregnant self, it should be easy. When she goes into labour during a snow storm and her car slides on some ice, it's Eric who comes to the rescue.

There seems to be a bond between them now, but is it enough? And can Eric give up his manwhore ways to be the man Jean needs?

Head On by John Scalzi

Find it at:
John Scalzi returns with Head On, the standalone follow-up to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed Lock In. Chilling near-future SF with the thrills of a gritty cop procedural, Head On brings Scalzi's trademark snappy dialogue and technological speculation to the future world of sports.

Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it.

Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field.

Is it an accident or murder? FBI Agents and Haden-related crime investigators, Chris Shane and Leslie Vann, are called in to uncover the truth―and in doing so travel to the darker side of the fast-growing sport of Hilketa, where fortunes are made or lost, and where players and owners do whatever it takes to win, on and off the field.

Unmasked by the Marquess by Cat Sebastian

Find it at:
Goodreads | LibraryThing
The one you love…
Robert Selby is determined to see his sister make an advantageous match. But he has two problems: the Selbys have no connections or money and Robert is really a housemaid named Charity Church. She’s enjoyed every minute of her masquerade over the past six years, but she knows her pretense is nearing an end. Charity needs to see her beloved friend married well and then Robert Selby will disappear…forever.
May not be who you think…
Alistair, Marquess of Pembroke, has spent years repairing the estate ruined by his wastrel father, and nothing is more important than protecting his fortune and name. He shouldn’t be so beguiled by the charming young man who shows up on his doorstep asking for favors. And he certainly shouldn’t be thinking of all the disreputable things he’d like to do to the impertinent scamp.
But is who you need…
When Charity’s true nature is revealed, Alistair knows he can’t marry a scandalous woman in breeches, and Charity isn’t about to lace herself into a corset and play a respectable miss. Can these stubborn souls learn to sacrifice what they’ve always wanted for a love that is more than they could have imagined?

The Elizas by Sara Shepard

Find it at:
Goodreads | Booklikes | LibraryThing
When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.

Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?

The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
More Great Books Being Released Today
(Covers link to Goodreads)

Which new releases are you excited about this week?

Monday, April 16, 2018

Audiobook Review - Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen @SarinaBowen

Bittersweet by Sarina Bowen
Narrated by Saskia Maarleveld and Tad Branson
Series: True North #1
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Date Read: April 6, 2018
Length: 9 hours 32 minutes
Source: Library via Hoopla
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the orchard.

The last person Griffin Shipley expects to find stuck in a ditch on his Vermont country road is his ex-hookup. Five years ago they’d shared a couple of steamy nights together. But that was a lifetime ago.

At twenty-seven, Griff is now the accidental patriarch of his family farm. Even his enormous shoulders feel the strain of supporting his mother, three siblings and a dotty grandfather. He doesn’t have time for the sorority girl who’s shown up expecting to buy his harvest at half price.

Vermont was never in Audrey Kidder’s travel plans. Neither was Griff Shipley. But she needs a second chance with the restaurant conglomerate employing her. Okay—a fifth chance. And no self-righteous lumbersexual farmer will stand in her way.

They’re adversaries. They want entirely different things from life. Too bad their sexual chemistry is as hot as Audrey’s top secret enchilada sauce, and then some.

My Review

I had such a good time listening to Griff and Audrey's story!  I recently discover Sarina Bowen's work when I listened to and fell in love with Bountiful.  As soon as I finished that book, I knew that I was going to have to go back and listen to the rest of the series.  As soon as I realized that this book was about Griff and Audrey, I almost jumped for joy since they were key characters in Bountiful.  I went into this book with pretty high expectations and they were met.  This really was a fantastic romance.

I loved Griff and Audrey.  Griff was a bit of a grump which I found completely adorable.  I guess he had a few things to be grumpy about since he gave up his chance at football to come back home and run the family farm after his father's death.  Farming is hard work and a lot to manage.  He has taken on the responsibility of making sure that all of his family's needs are met.  Audrey is passionate about cooking.  She is a chef and has excellent skills.  Unfortunately, her employer doesn't let her use those skills.  Her current assignment is to visit farms in Vermont to get produce for the restaurants.  She is determined to do what it takes to prove herself so that she can get her chance at running a kitchen.

Griff and Audrey knew each other in college.  It is obvious from their first meeting that they haven't forgotten each other even though their relationship was extremely brief.  These two were perfect together from the very start of the book.  I loved the way that Audrey just kind of fit into Griff's world even when he didn't think she would.  Audrey didn't seem to mind Griff's grouch like behavior and seemed to really understand him from the start.  They had fantastic chemistry and seemed so much better together than they were apart. 

This was the first time that I have listened to both Saskia Maarleveld and Tad Branson and I thought that they did a fantastic job with this audiobook.  I do really enjoy romance novels that utilize dual narrators and thought their narration styles really worked well together.  They were really both able to capture their character's personality and make them come alive.  I think that they were able to bring a lot of emotion into the story as well.  I would definitely listen to either of these narrators again in the future.

I would highly recommend this book to fans of contemporary romance.  This was a really well done story filled with characters that I grew to love over the course of the story.  I had a really great time listening to Griff and Audrey find their happily ever after.  I can't wait to experience more of this wonderful series very soon.

About the Author

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont's Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

In 2016, Sarina became a Rita Award winner! The Romance Writers of America honored HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy with Best Contemporary Romance, Mid-Length.

Author Link:  Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Stacking the Shelves #115

I am really excited to participate in Stacking the Shelves, a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and Reading Reality.

My Life
This was a pretty good week.  It is finally starting to look a bit like spring around here.  We actually had some snow flurries on Sunday but it was over 80° by the end of the week.  I will take all of the warmer weather I can get.  I was able to leave work a couple of hours early on Thursday while it was nice out so we took the dogs for a walk in the middle of the afternoon which was nice.  I do appreciate these quieter weeks.

Books Added This Week
Too Wilde to Wed by Eloisa James (Edelweiss)
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo (Kindle Purchase)
Providence by Caroline Kepnes (LibraryThing Early Reviewer)
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan (Edelweiss)
Never Kiss a Rake by Anne Stuart (Audible Purchase)
Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak (Audible Purchase)

So much for small book hauls!  I have been really eager to get my hands on Too Wilde to Wed so I was thrilled to finally have my request approved on Edelweiss.  I couldn't resist Wonder Woman: Warbringer when I saw it offered for only $1.99 this week.  I received the copy of Providence that I won on LibraryThing this week.  I am really curious about this one and expect that it will be very different than You. I love Julia Whelan's narration so I am really curious to read the book that she has written, My Oxford Year.  I picked up the audiobook of Never Kiss a Rake for $1.99 since I already had the ebook and I used a credit for Her Darkest Nightmare.  I listened to Her Darkest Nightmare this week and found it entertaining.  These should keep me busy for a while!

What books do you add to your shelves this week? 
Let me know in the comments and be sure to leave a link to your own STS post!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Review - After Anna by Lisa Scottoline

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Date Read: April
Length:  400 pages
Source: NetGalley

Nobody cuts deeper than family...

Noah Alderman, a doctor and a widower, has remarried a wonderful woman, Maggie, and for the first time in a long time he and his son are happy. But their lives are turned upside down when Maggie’s daughter Anna moves in with them. Anna is a gorgeous seventeen-year-old who balks at living under their rules though Maggie, ecstatic to have her daughter back, ignores the red flags that hint at the trouble that is brewing. Events take a deadly turn when Anna is murdered and Noah is accused of the crime. Maggie must face not only the devastation of losing her only daughter, but the realization that her daughter's murder was at the hands of a husband she loves. New information sends Maggie searching for the truth, leading her to discover something darker than she could have ever imagined.

My Review

I have very mixed feelings about this book.  I have been a fan of Lisa Scottoline for a long time and have almost always really enjoyed her books so I went into this book expecting to love it.  I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either.  It was really just kind of okay for me.  I had a really hard time getting into this book and it actually took me an entire week to finish it which is a very long time for me to be reading a single book.  Once I really got into the book a bit, I did find the story a bit more entertaining and was very curious how things would work out.

I feel like Scottoline took a bit of a risk with how this story is laid out and I am not sure that it paid off at least for me.  The book is told through 2 points of view and 2 different time lines.  Noah's point of view starts at the end his trial for the murder of Anna and works its way backwards through time.  Maggie's point of view begins with Anna's first contact with her since she was a baby and progresses towards the events leading to the trial.  These two points of view move in opposite directions until they eventually come together.  I feel that one of the reasons that I had such a hard time getting into the book was that I already knew that Anna was going to be killed and Noah was going to stand trial for the murder.  I didn't know how those things would happen but some of the desire to find out what would happen next was lost simply because of how the story was laid out.

Eventually the two points of view meet up and start to follow the same basic timeline which really worked better for me.  Some of that is achieved through Noah's memories while he sits in the courtroom during his trial.  I think that some of the best parts of the book were the times that we would see an event from both Noah and Maggie's point of view. 

I love a good plot twist.  But I like for plot twists to be believable.  I want them to be at least somewhat realistic.  This book started taking twists and turns all over the place and most of them seemed way over the top.  Instead of surprise over the turn in the story, I felt shocked that the story had become so implausible.  The last part of the book spun in a whole new direction that seemed more odd than anything. 

Despite my issues, I do enjoy Scottoline's writing and found this book to be very readable and I did like the book.  I think that a lot of readers will enjoy this one more than I did so I would encourage anyone drawn to the description to give the book a try.  I do plan to read more from Lisa Scottoline in the future. 

I received a digital review copy of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley.
About the Author
© April Narby
LISA SCOTTOLINE is a New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of twenty-three novels. She has served as the president of Mystery Writers of America. She has 30 million copies of her books in print in the U.S., and she has been published in thirty-five countries. She writes a column with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and those stories have been adapted into a series of memoirs. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Books from the Backlog #3

Books from the Backlog is a fun way to feature some of those neglected books sitting on your bookshelf.  If you are anything like me, you might be surprised by some of the unread books hiding in your stacks.

If you would like to join in, please feel free to enter your link and link back to this post, then spend some time visiting some of the other posts.  

This week's neglected book

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Release Date: February 6, 2016
Publisher: Philomel Books
Between Shades of Gray meets Titanic in this epic WWII-era novel that shines a light on one of the war’s most devastating—yet unknown—maritime tragedies.

It’s 1945 in East Prussia. World War II is drawing to a close as Russian forces overtake the Germans, and thousands of refugees are on a frantic trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among the throngs of people seeking safety are Joana, Emilia, and Florian: each one borne of a different homeland, yet equally desperate to escape a life marked by brutality and war. As their paths converge en route to the Wilhelm Gustloff—the former cruise ship that promises each character’s salvation and future just beyond the Baltic Sea—the three are forced by circumstance to unite, and with each step closer toward safety, their strength, courage, and trust in each other are tested.

Yet just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, Russian torpedoes strike the massive ship. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival. Most will not make it.

Told in four alternating POVs, Ruta Sepetys delivers a masterful work of historical fiction inspired by the real-life tragedy that was the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the single greatest maritime disaster in history (far more deadly than the sinking of Titanic). Just as she did in Between Shades of Gray, Ruta unearths a shockingly little-known casualty of a gruesome war, and proves that humanity can prevail, even in the darkest of hours.
Why did I add Salt to the Sea to my bookshelf?

I bought this book right as it was being released in February 2016.  I actually was able to get the book signed at a local stop on the book tour for this book.  I thought the book looked good before hearing Ruta Sepetys talk but by the time I left I was really excited.  It really was one of the most interesting author events that I have been to and I was amazed by the research that went into Salt to the Sea. (see my post from the author event - here)  So I have a signed physical copy of this book that has been waiting to be read for over two years.  I do feel a little less guilty about it since my daughter has taken the book off the shelf to read and really enjoyed it.  Hopefully, I can squeeze this one into my reading schedule by the end of the year.

What are your thoughts? Have you read this book?  Would you recommend it to others?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Audiobook Review - White Trash Zombie Unchained by Diana Rowland

White Trash Zombie Unchained by Diana Rowland
Narrated by: Allison McLemore
Series: White Trash Zombie #6
Publisher: DAW / Audible Studios
Publication Date: September 4, 2017
Date Read: April 3, 2018
Length: 14 hours 22 minutes
Source: Purchased - Audible
Angel Crawford has finally pulled herself together (literally!) after her disastrous dismemberment on Mardi Gras. She’s putting the pieces of her life back in order and is ready to tackle whatever the future holds.

Too bad the future is a nasty bitch. There’s a new kind of zombie in town: mindless shamblers, infectious and ravenous.

With the threat of a full-blown shambler pandemic looming, and a loved one stricken, Angel and the “real” zombies scramble to find a cure. Yet when Angel uncovers the true reason the plague is spreading so quickly, she adds “no-holds-barred revenge” to her to-do list.

Angel is busting her ass dealing with shambling hordes, zombie gators, government jerks, and way too many mosquitos, but this white trash chick ain’t giving up.

Good thing, since the fate of the world is resting on her undead shoulders.

My Review

I had such a good time with this book!  I am so glad that I happened upon this series because I have really grown to love Angel and the rest of the gang over the course of the series.  I have been looking forward to listening to this book ever since it was released and it turned out to be just as good as I had hoped it would be. 

This is the sixth book in the White Trash Zombie series which should really be read in order since each installment builds on the previous books.  This book picks up shortly after the events of the last book.  Angel is healed and working on getting her life back together.  Unfortunately, some of the events from the past are still causing some problems.  Big problems.  It seems that the town is dealing with an epidemic outbreak of shamblers and the problem is quickly getting worse.

I love Angel.  Her character has really grown over the course of the series and it has been a lot of fun to watch her figure out how she wants to live her life.  Angel is incredibly smart and resourceful.  She also cares deeply for her friends and the population in general and feels a responsibly to protect others.  She even does really well when dealing with characters that are trying to be difficult because she is able to keep a focus on what is really important.  I really enjoy being in her head as she tries to figure things out as much as I enjoy the action packed scenes. 

Allison McLemore does a fantastic job with this whole series.  I know that I liked this entire series a bit more because I decided to go the audio route.  The narrator really takes this story to a new level.  Angel really comes to life through the narration and I thought she did an equally good job with all of the other character voices.  I think that the narrator was able to put a lot of emotion into the story and made things more exciting overall. 

I would highly recommend this series to others.  The entire series is just a whole lot of fun.  I did feel like this book's ending felt a little more final than the previous installments but I have my fingers crossed that we will see more of Angel very soon.

The Series

Book #1 - My Life as a White Trash Zombie - My Review
Book #2 - Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues - My Review
Book #3 - White Trash Zombie Apocalypse - My Review
Book #4 - How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back - My Review
Book #5 - White Trash Zombie Gone Wild - My Review
Book #6 - White Trash Zombie Unchained
About the Author

Diana Rowland has lived her entire life below the Mason-Dixon line, uses "y'all" for second-person-plural, and otherwise has no southern accent (in her opinion.) She attended college at Georgia Tech where she earned a BS in Applied Mathematics, and after graduation forgot everything about higher math as quickly as possible.

She has worked as a bartender, a blackjack dealer, a pit boss, a street cop, a detective, a computer forensics specialist, a crime scene investigator, and a morgue assistant, which means that she's seen more than her share of what humans can do to each other and to themselves. She won the marksmanship award in her Police Academy class, has a black belt in Hapkido, has handled numerous dead bodies in various states of decomposition, and can't rollerblade to save her life.

She presently lives in south Louisiana with her husband and her daughter where she is deeply grateful for the existence of air conditioning.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter
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